We only achieve true solutions when our work supports systems of social and economic justice and ecological sustainability. Addressing issues of access, ownership, autonomy and democratic participation, among others, lays the foundation for lasting success.
Zero waste means reducing what we trash in landfills and incinerators to zero. Most things can and should be safely and economically recycled or reused. We also need to simply use less and redesign our products so that they are toxic-free and built to last.
Clean Production is a way of designing products and manufacturing processes in harmony with natural ecological cycles. It takes a life cycle view of all materials flows, from extraction of the raw material to product manufacture and the ultimate fate of the product at the end of its life.
Extended Producer Responsibility
To get to the root cause of waste, communities need to stop picking up after the producers of products that become waste and begin demanding that they do so themselves. The embodiment of this idea is Extended Producer Responsibility, which requires companies that manufacture or sell products to be responsible for such products after their useful life.
Waste Picker Rights
In many parts of the developing world, collecting and sorting waste "informally" provides a livelihood for large numbers of the urban poor, who often work in deplorable conditions. GAIA believes that advocating for waste picker rights is an important part of working for environmental justice.
Medical Waste Management
In order to fulfill the medical ethic to "first do no harm," health care providers have a responsibility to manage waste in ways that protect the public and the environment. The first step is waste minimization and separation, and the next is treating infectious waste to prevent the spread of disease.